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View Full Version : Why aren't there more critical articles about Cloud Gaming?



Dexter
14-01-2012, 04:14 PM
There's been a few OnLive "Tests" or something like that, but barely anyone has reached for the implications that might follow.

Personally I'm not a fan, to say the least.

The thought that something like OnLive (or anything like it) might at some point have the success of Steam is truly outright horrifying, not only do you lose any advantage PC gaming might have over consoles (from being able to Mod your game, to tweaking graphics settings and using any kind of control method you like etc.) and would replace it with a blurry mess full of compression artifacts, banding and input lag at low resolution and with the game on their side running on low or medium graphics settings to save on processing power, but you'd also lose every single consumer right you might still have left when you buy a game as a product (with companies being able to revoke your rights to your entire game library over any reason and physically being able to pull it off).
I see it as the ultimate form of DRM, worse than anything I could have ever imagined a few years ago and I'm appalled that most people don't regard it as such.


There's a whole bunch of "Steam-Exclusive" titles nowadays (which would have been unthinkable for most people but a decade ago) with it having become a normalcy and a lot of developers are/were working towards outsourcing their SinglePlayer game code server-side by themselves even though a lot of the implementations so far seemed rather awkward. UbiSoft started with the likes of Assassin's Creed 2 and Silent Hunter V, although it was just a bunch of simple "function calls" that were prompted from the servers and stopped you from playing if the client didn't get any answer. Blizzard is going even a step further with Diablo 3 by outsourcing the entire Loot, Monster-spawn code etc. server-side so they have total control over it. These kinds of companies would be the first to jump on to the bandwagon train of "Cloud Gaming Exclusives" as soon as some service has managed to establish itself and forego any Retail or Digital Distribution Release entirely, and likely more would follow, it is not a good thing in any way I am looking at it, hell they could even terminate games that are unwanted or out-of-date that noone could play anymore after that (out of licensing reasons, image - say Rockstar decides to pull Manhunt or something like that) and the games would be gone forever with nobody owning a copy.

The only article regarding the issue I've seen so far is from a german gaming magazine (GameStar) and unfortunately translates somewhat awkwardly: http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gamestar.de%2Fhardware%2Fpraxis %2F2563556%2Fcloud_gaming_entzaubert.html

They mainly touch upon following things being lost with these services:

1. Being able to play all games at all times
2. Playing with maximum graphics details and antialiasing enabled
3. Playing high end multiplayer (as far as I know OnLive only hosts Multiplayer between other OnLive players because of latency)
4. Setting up Multiplayer-servers and hosting LAN parties
5. Playing offline
6. Installing Mods
7. Tweaking Ini files
8. Cheating (even the Offline kind)
9. Securing your Savegames
10. Being able to decide if to Patch or not

nayon
14-01-2012, 04:34 PM
With some effort, I can see cloud gaming services implementing support for #4,6,7,8,9,10. Also, #2,3 are issues relating to connection speed. In the future with improved connection speeds they should be less of an issue.

Prodirus
14-01-2012, 04:38 PM
Location of server is also a huge issue. I have a decent internet connection, but I live in SE Asia. Once tried to play a demo on Onlive, and Onlive severs the connection everytime I try to launch the client because of latency issues.

Vague-rant
14-01-2012, 04:45 PM
With some effort, I can see cloud gaming services implementing support for #4,6,7,8,9,10. Also, #2,3 are issues relating to connection speed. In the future with improved connection speeds they should be less of an issue.

2 is only a connection issue when referring to resolution/compression. I understood Onlive doesn't like running effects on "high" to save their computers doing the number crunching.

Also, presumably Onlive will get a lot more scathing articles (and articles advocating it for that matter) when it gets forced on us by someone major, or gets popular.

Heliocentric
14-01-2012, 06:32 PM
onLive will remain forever installed on my PC because watching someone else play a game live was the best thing ever invented.

Its like being dead in counterstrike, but for any game you care to think of, actually gaming on it is another matter.

ReverendMoosey
14-01-2012, 09:04 PM
In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I did write an article critical of cloud-gaming.
http://www.videogameologists.com/2011/12/02/onlive-future-perfect/

icupnimpn2
14-01-2012, 09:38 PM
OnLive potentially serves a certain type of customer. This is the type that is not you. You can stay away from it.

If I had only a netbook and a reliable high speed internet connection, I would use OnLive more often.

As it is, I have a mid-range graphics card that's a couple years old but still capable and a slowpoke Indian reservation DSL connection, so OnLive isn't the right fit for me.

Still provides a neat service that I can totally understand people using.

deano2099
14-01-2012, 10:29 PM
I do think this is far more likely to 'kill' console gaming than PC gaming.

Rii
14-01-2012, 10:37 PM
OnLive potentially serves a certain type of customer. This is the type that is not you. You can stay away from it.

Umm, not if it becomes the de facto model, which was the OP's point.

Dexter
14-01-2012, 11:30 PM
Also, presumably Onlive will get a lot more scathing articles (and articles advocating it for that matter) when it gets forced on us by someone major, or gets popular.

At the point when 5 million+ people are logged into it at once and have extensive libraries with over 40million+ active accounts like Steam and "exclusives" people want to play it'll be much too late to do anything meaningful about it. Just as it would trying to make people stop using Steam all off a sudden or stop playing on "XBox Live" because Microsoft decided to rise the price to 20$/month, it'll be just a few silenced cries in a ocean of people. The only chance to stop anything like this from happening is making it fail/making people realize what they're giving up when it starts. They're trying to grab customers with honey at the moment by "offering" playing games like Saint's Row 3, Deus Ex: HR or Batman: AC, AC: Reveleations for 1$ or whatnot.


I do think this is far more likely to 'kill' console gaming than PC gaming.
How do you figure? They'll get the "Exclusives", which are the biggest reason for them consoles from Microsoft/SONY's hands over their cold, dead bodies. In the meantime there isn't really any entity or developer buying off developers or literally buying them entirely to develop "Exclusives" and push a certain platform on the PC.

soldant
15-01-2012, 12:25 AM
How do you figure? They'll get the "Exclusives", which are the biggest reason for them consoles from Microsoft/SONY's hands over their cold, dead bodies. In the meantime there isn't really any entity or developer buying off developers or literally buying them entirely to develop "Exclusives" and push a certain platform.
Why would they get the "Exclusives"? If the effort goes out of PC gaming people will turn to it. PC gaming is superior to console gaming in terms of visual fidelity and framerate, so if they have a good internet connection the experience will be better than what they're used to on a console. Given that a PC has much better utility than a console, it's not hard to see why they'd swap, especially since the PC doesn't need particularly meaty hardware.


On the topic of OnLive I can see the benefit in it. I'd love to be able to play games at full fidelity on an ultrabook or underpowered system. But at the same time Australia's internet service (until the new network gets rolled out, which will take friggin' forever to reach most of us) isn't up to the task of handling something like this, and there are no services planning to move here anyway. Also as others say, what happens if we lose access to OnLive, or they decide to stop offering a game? At least if I own it I can keep coming back to it if I want to.

I think it's remarkable for what it is, but I don't think it's going to be a replacement for gaming anytime soon. There are too many unknown factors, while the only real benefit seems to be "You can play major games on toasters" which is great but doesn't help if you might never see that game again, or don't have an internet connection available.

Kaira-
15-01-2012, 12:36 AM
Why would they get the "Exclusives"?

Someone at some point decides that OnLive is available for large enough portion of population, and decides that OnLive should be used as the DRM-system. I don't believe Steam was originally designed to be a DRM-system for anything outside of Valve's own games, but here we are now.

SirKicksalot
15-01-2012, 12:47 AM
A good thing to keep in mind when arguing is that defaulting to the extreme example doesn't help your argument.

deano2099
15-01-2012, 02:28 AM
How do you figure? They'll get the "Exclusives", which are the biggest reason for them consoles from Microsoft/SONY's hands over their cold, dead bodies. In the meantime there isn't really any entity or developer buying off developers or literally buying them entirely to develop "Exclusives" and push a certain platform.

Because all the good points of PC gaming you talk about are mostly why people do PC gaming instead of console gaming to start with.

If I want to trade off graphical fidelity, modding, configurability and so on for ease of use, I'll buy a console. Hence why these services are already being sold as TV boxes too. The fact that the PC hardware is on the back-end is a red-herring.

Although that fact does sort of matter, as the games are running on PCs. Which means if you're developing for OnLive, you're developing for PC. Given the code-base for the online and native PC version will be nigh-on identical, it'd be silly not to launch on both.

Rii
15-01-2012, 02:32 AM
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-01-12-new-google-tvs-will-have-onlive-built-in

New Google TVs will have OnLive built-in.

soldant
15-01-2012, 03:27 AM
Someone at some point decides that OnLive is available for large enough portion of population, and decides that OnLive should be used as the DRM-system. I don't believe Steam was originally designed to be a DRM-system for anything outside of Valve's own games, but here we are now.
The post was referring to consoles having the exclusives, not OnLive.

Voon
15-01-2012, 04:04 AM
Cloud gaming could work with just anybody who has a fast enough internet connection. Unlike mine, which is slow as fuck. Also, server location.

Speaking of cloud gaming, shouldn't Gaikai deserve a mention? I mean, you can play PC games on a smartphone with it, right?

squirrel
15-01-2012, 09:19 AM
South Korea and Scacdinavian nations suppose to have the world's most well established Internet infrastructure. You mates know how cloud gaming is doing there?

I dont have a stable (not just slow, it simply is unstable, damn my ISP!) Internet connection so for me cloud gaming is just out of the question.

Rossignol
15-01-2012, 10:21 AM
I think there aren't many articles because the press is generally committed to a particular set of formats, and OnLive hasn't really established itself as a gaming platform yet. When it does, the coverage will appear.

BillButNotBen
15-01-2012, 10:54 AM
I don't really share any of the OP's worries. The drawbacks are balanced by the benefits of not needing to spend a fortune on hardware, instant access to demos, etc...

It's not for everyone, sure, but I'd imagine it's much more likely to make consoles obsolete than gaming PCs.

However, the dependence on local servers seems to slightly defeat the object to me. Or at least sounds like it'll be limited in the places it will reach. It's sure not playable/accessible in Japan.

Megagun
15-01-2012, 11:44 AM
As long as publishers own their own digital distributors (EA->Origin, Valve->Steam), you won't see their games as an exclusive game on OnLive, unless OnLive is bought out by a publisher. Even then, though, I doubt that a publisher would move to OnLive exclusively if they own the OnLive infrastructure and technology. Creating a game for PC and then only publishing it on OnLive seems like a silly idea. It would be less silly if OnLive somehow attached consoles to their system, and you'd be able to play console games on console hardware via OnLive. That way, you only have one target platform and support the PC via OnLive.

Dexter
15-01-2012, 12:34 PM
As long as publishers own their own digital distributors (EA->Origin, Valve->Steam), you won't see their games as an exclusive game on OnLive, unless OnLive is bought out by a publisher. Even then, though, I doubt that a publisher would move to OnLive exclusively if they own the OnLive infrastructure and technology. Creating a game for PC and then only publishing it on OnLive seems like a silly idea. It would be less silly if OnLive somehow attached consoles to their system, and you'd be able to play console games on console hardware via OnLive. That way, you only have one target platform and support the PC via OnLive.

That's a good point I haven't yet fully considered. Yes it's highly unlikely that either Valve or EA would ever do that as long as they are commited to their own platforms.

Microsoft also likely as they're still commited to their whole XBox Live/GFWL, which will be the merged into one once Windows 8 launches.
There's still the danger of them expanding their own "cloud services" in some sort of knee-jerk reaction they are prone to (e.g. see Kinect, Move etc.) if something takes off.

Far more likely candidates would be Warner (as they own major stock in OnLive) or UbiSoft (cause at this point I wouldn't put anything past them). I don't really think it's such a "silly idea", or rather it being similar to how "Steam Exclusives" would have been a "silly idea" in 2004.

I don't really see how they would "integrate consoles" as exclusives are the main reason consoles thrive in the first place and SONY managed to (nearly?) break even with Microsoft in the last 2 years or so because of them, content sells platforms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Game_Studios#Software_Development_Studio s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Game_Studios)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Computer_Entertainment#Software_development_s tudios (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Computer_Entertainment)
SONY owns a lot of First Party Studios, almost enough in fact to support a console all by itself and Second Party/Third Party only being icing on the cake. Microsoft has been sleeping a bit lately as they just started off with a large portion of Second and Third Party studios instead, that turned more and more towards Multiplatform as time went on, skipping on the Exclusivity money in favor of increased profits, with Bioware being bought by EA right under their nose and "daring" to release their games on PC and PS3, as well as Bungie moving on. Although Microsoft has opened a lot of "Microsoft Game Studios" lately with a bunch of projects in the works.

LGM
15-01-2012, 01:34 PM
I actually think cloud gaming will be the main way we all play at some point in the future. It may be that you still have to install a certain amount of data but most of it will be cloud based. It'll be a while before we're all using infrastructure based on it, but the GRID being run by CERN should remove (almost) all the issues with cloud gaming right now. CERN has said that with GRID we'll eventually be able to play games with 1000 players all in the same match with no lag. I have no clue as to when ISP's will start getting GRID servers, as only universities and scientific research centers and government have access to it at this point.

Lukasz
15-01-2012, 01:40 PM
I said once that OnLive would be great if it was combined with steam. you buy you own the game (like you own the game on steam) but if your computer cannot play it now you can use the onlive option for small monthly fee or one off payment (5 bucks for any ten games in your library)
cause paying 50 bucks for DEHR now while in 2 year time any new computer will run it at least on medium settings is just not worth it. but if it worked like steam you would be able to finally play it offline, with mods and better graphics.